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Eagle94-A1

Youth Signing Off on Advancement: Pro and Con

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I've had very little negative feedback.  Most of such would have been between PL and scout.  Those issues are easily resolved.  Both in my rebuild troop and new troop, no resistance to the PL's signing off.

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...  Ok back to the topic. What are some arguments you guys have heard against youth signing off, and what were your counter arguments.

I file all of the arguments (not wanting to sully the rank, PLs were signing off indiscriminately, poor training, etc ...) under an undeserved mistrust of youth, and a misplaced faith in adults.

 

Every now and then I get an "EMT cert signed by my prof wouldn't amount to much." (Basically, what the Beav mentioned.) But, the response to that is "Fine, one youth instruct another test. Adults, find us some MBC's!"

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If it was just a class, I would have no problem with it. But the adult faction wants a skills check off weekend before even considering anything else. Maybe I'm old school, but I'm a firm believe that the badge represents what the Scouts can do, not what they have done. If they have the badge they should have the skills to no only do it, but teach it. 

 

Didn't an adult sign off on the skill that the adults now think the scouts don't know well enough?  Ooops.

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Didn't an adult sign off on the skill that the adults now think the scouts don't know well enough?  Ooops.

 

Never get caught holding the bag.

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Yes.  BUT the Scouter pushing the skills check off weekend didn't sign off on anything for the Scouts in question. And the rest of the adult faction thinks they need review. It may be that he doesn't trust the other adults to sign off. Good thing I have only signed off the BOR requirement  in the 2.5 years I've been with the troop until yesterday.

 

What I found ironic is that after so many years working with Boy Scouts and having them do stuff like sharpen axes and saws, build fires, etc for me, I needed some practice. Yes, I can teach those skills, but the Scouts can do it better than me.

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3. Only SM can sign off on the 1st Class "invite a friend" requirement since that one was troublesome in the past.

 

Excuse my ignorance, but could someone provide some detail on this requirement.   His Scoutmaster is always asking the boys to invite a friend to scouting, and when my nephew tells him that he does not know anyone, he will not take "no" for an answer.  I am certain that he means well, and is probably required to do this, but he seems to have trouble accepting that my nephew cannot do it. This has become sort of a "boogieman" for my nephew.  I want to help him deal with it, but I do not know what to tell him.

 

I thought the "invite a friend" things was just a "throw away" item.  Something they put in, because it looks good but nobody really takes seriously.  If he cannot do it, will this cause a problem?

 

I have told my nephew not to be concerned with advancement, and to just do the things he likes.  He loves the outings and learning new skills, but things like this requirement "vex" him more than I can describe. 

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Excuse my ignorance, but could someone provide some detail on this requirement.   His Scoutmaster is always asking the boys to invite a friend to scouting, and when my nephew tells him that he does not know anyone, he will not take "no" for an answer.  I am certain that he means well, and is probably required to do this, but he seems to have trouble accepting that my nephew cannot do it. This has become sort of a "boogieman" for my nephew.  I want to help him deal with it, but I do not know what to tell him.

 

I thought the "invite a friend" things was just a "throw away" item.  Something they put in, because it looks good but nobody really takes seriously.  If he cannot do it, will this cause a problem?

 

I have told my nephew not to be concerned with advancement, and to just do the things he likes.  He loves the outings and learning new skills, but things like this requirement "vex" him more than I can describe.

 

This is a fairly new requirement. (About 10 years old?) I do have problems with it because I feel it was added to serve the organization more than the boy. Be that as it may, it is now required.

If I were his SM, I'd like to know if something about the program is vexing a scout. Your nephew's SM may have the best intentions, but may not be aware that his encouragement is backfiring.

No need to take "friend" literally. Enemies or complete strangers will do. Maybe a fellow scout could "loan" a friend. And there's no reason he has to do it by himself. Maybe he and another scout can't talk to a couple of classmates. Maybe the patrol can set up a demonstration campsite at a school or a public park, and invite boys to come visit, then hand out a fly with meeting info.

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Yes.  BUT the Scouter pushing the skills check off weekend didn't sign off on anything for the Scouts in question. And the rest of the adult faction thinks they need review. It may be that he doesn't trust the other adults to sign off. Good thing I have only signed off the BOR requirement  in the 2.5 years I've been with the troop until yesterday.

 

What I found ironic is that after so many years working with Boy Scouts and having them do stuff like sharpen axes and saws, build fires, etc for me, I needed some practice. Yes, I can teach those skills, but the Scouts can do it better than me.

 

I know this probably won't fly knowing your circumstances, but...

 

Why not ask the boys to come up with a solution?  

 

There are a number of issues in our Troop that need fixing.  Rather than have the adults come up with a solution, I'm putting it to the boys at their leadership campout.  When we've done this in the past, their solutions are usually better than ours.

 

Excuse my ignorance, but could someone provide some detail on this requirement.  

 

 

The requireiment is to tell a friend about scouting and invite them to a meeting.  The requirement doesn't say they have to come to the meeting.  One idea is for him to help out with any activities done with Cub Scouts and talk to the Webelos 2 scouts who will be crossing over in the spring.  All he has to do is tell them about scouting and what he likes and encourage them to visit the troop.  The Webelos 2 scouts are requried to visit a troop as part of getting the Arrow of Light, so it is an easy sell AND he actually might make a difference in a boy joining scouts.  We've found that personal contact with boys in the Troop makes a big difference in how many boys join from the various packs. 

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I have always just told the boys to invite someone to a meeting or bring a friend to an activity.

 

Scout: "We're going camping next weekend, want to come along?:

Friend: "No."

 

We're done, the boy completed his advancement.  No need for adults to over-think this.  Boys of this age are very literal and they tend to follow the requirements to the letter. 

Edited by Stosh

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I know it's a gradual process. Troop has been working on it since for at least 3 years, and was doing well until about 1.5 years ago. For a variety of reasons, we took one giant step backwards, to the point where it's worse than when my joined the troop. When oldest joined the troop on this scale http://scoutmastercg.com/ladder-of-youth-leadership-infographic/ the troop was a 5 and moving towards 4. Now we are a definate 7, with an occasional spike to 6. 

 

 

Yah, this is da way things go, eh?  As soon as yeh get one group of boys or adults on board, they have the nerve to grow up and graduate and move on to other things!   Buildin' a youth program is a game of constant buildin' and rebuildin'.  It's supposed to keep us young.  :)   If yeh do it well, each time it will be a little different, perhaps even a little better.

 

 

If it was just a class, I would have no problem with it. But the adult faction wants a skills check off weekend before even considering anything else. 

 

 

Yah, this is just where you're at, eh?  Like @@Eagledad says, adult fear is what yeh have to overcome.  Gettin' frustrated by it is about as helpful as gettin' frustrated when a youth is afraid to try somethin' new.   The trick here is to imagine the other adults are kids you're workin' with.  Just somewhat slower kids with more ego.   ;)

 

It's just a weekend, so who cares?  Yeh can make these sort of special, the way TLT or NYLT is kinda special.  Do a bit of instruction, have a fun campfire evening.   Da only thing I would add in is that everybody has to do check-offs, eh?  Adults as well as kids.  In fact, I'd start with adults.  ;)    Yeh can do a checkoff with people watching, and then discuss how they did as a group, and build consensus.

 

Just be careful about the "one adult wouldn't talk to me" stuff, eh?  Yeh won't get where you're goin' if yeh build enemies instead of allies.  There's no reason why proposin' patrol competitions should ever get yeh to "one adult won't talk to me", so be mindful of your style.

 

Beavah

  • Upvote 1

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@@Beavah,

 

Actually no one has aged out. The SPL when my son visited, and made a great impression on my son I might add, is now a bored, disillisioned Scout in the venture patrol. Only joy he has had in the past 12 months is doing metal work with the blacksmith and making a bunch of stuff. SPL when my son joined, is still active, served in a variety of positions, but is discouraged because of things in the troop. Other youth leaders are still active, but are not taking ownership because of all the adult interference.

 

We've had one older Scout leave, and that was because he felt he wasn't being listened to. We've had Scouts my son's age and younger transfer and quit for a variety of reasons: moves, meeting nites worked better, and more led program.

 

EDITED:  Actually it's not my style, but the adult in question. I try to be friendly, courteous, and compromising in a positive way. The adult's style is like an AC130 Gunship, it goes after you and annihilates everything in it's path.

Edited by Eagle94-A1

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You going to blame the program and not the fumes?  That's a breath of fresh air for a change.

 

An older boy program is pretty much non-existent in a lot of units.

 

Big emotional and adrenaline rush to get to FC, then arduous teaching, POR, MB's etc. to get to Eagle.  Many units don't want their boys to get Eagle at a young age because they will leave.  Well, they do anyway and if by some miracle they come back just in time to get their death-bed Eagle award before turning 18.

 

No, it's not the cars, it's not the girls, it's the poorly run Venture patrol program.  The regular patrols can handle the teaching of the young boys, they can do the mentoring and all the other "stuff" the adults force them to do.  But Venture patrols need to be as autonomous as ... shall I say it out-loud?... Venturing Crews?????  These units have no older boys focus so this is why we have Venturing Crews to try and shore up that lack of good program for Venture Patrols.  Do we see Venturing Crews struggle when they interact with Boy Scout units?  Sure for exactly the same reason.  BSA doesn't know what to do with the older boys!  These boys have matured to an adult level and now want to make use of their skills.  Nope, the only skills you need to know is teaching the new scouts we have jammed into your patrol.  Wow, does that sound like fun, or what!

 

No, one does not need to rely on ineffective excuses like cars and girls.

No, one does not need to spin off a Venturing program for the older guys.

No, one does not need these older boys to hang around and babysit the younger boys.

No, one does not need the 16-18 year olds taking leadership opportunities from the 13-15 year olds.

 

All one needs to do is provide the adventure that was promised when the joined up, jumped through all the hoops and are now ready to fly.  Going to Philmont every other year and getting in one Jambo, doesn't cut it.  It has to be a lot more than that to hold the boys to the promise we made.

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Excuse my ignorance, but could someone provide some detail on this requirement.   His Scoutmaster is always asking the boys to invite a friend to scouting, and when my nephew tells him that he does not know anyone, he will not take "no" for an answer.  I am certain that he means well, and is probably required to do this, but he seems to have trouble accepting that my nephew cannot do it. This has become sort of a "boogieman" for my nephew.  I want to help him deal with it, but I do not know what to tell him.

 

I thought the "invite a friend" things was just a "throw away" item.  Something they put in, because it looks good but nobody really takes seriously.  If he cannot do it, will this cause a problem?

 

I have told my nephew not to be concerned with advancement, and to just do the things he likes.  He loves the outings and learning new skills, but things like this requirement "vex" him more than I can describe. 

As someone else said, don't over think this.  It can't really be true that your nephew does not know anyone.  Does he go to school, is he involved any other activities, does he have relatives his age, was he in Cubs and did any of his Den mates not continue all the way to Boy Scouts?  The requirement isn't that the person invited needs to go to a specific event, it's to issue an invitation.  If the out reach is what's difficult for him try electronic communication (which has the added bonus of a nice digital trail): send an email or FB message.  If there is a cousin who lives out of state, look up the information about a troop in his area and send an email, amybe copying that troop, that invites the relative to checkout a troop meeting.  Receiving a tahnks but no thanks reply should be sufficient evidence that the invitation was sincerely made and the requirement fulfiled.

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From my experience, one needs to have some experience with older scouts before theorizing how adults should work with them.

 

It's usually adults of weak units that theorize that older scouts babysit younger scouts. That says a lot more about the adults than the scouts. in most cases it means the troop program hasn't matured beyond a First Class advancment program.

 

It's usually adults that assume older scouts need more adventure to enjoy scouting. But let's think about this for a moment, if the troop is providing adventure for all  the scouts, certainly the older scouts are getting their fair share of fun as well. So does pushing the older scout toward more adventure make sense? When adults don't understand why older scouts are not excited with the troop program, they seem to automatically theorize the older scouts aren't getting enough adventure. In reality, successful troops with a successful older scout program simply respects their older scouts as adults. They don't send them away to more adventure, they encourage the older scouts to be creative in running their program.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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Regarding older Scouts, I think it's a combination of factors, and they vary as much as each individual Scout. I think older Scouts do have an obligation to give back to the younger Scouts, just as older Scouts helped them out. But they do need to some challenging activities that the rest of the troop cannot do. The canoe trip up in Canada I did was a district event, not a troop event. But being creative in programing can help provide the opportunity for more challenging activities. I've mentioned about harder, more difficult trails my Leadership Corps did while the rest of the troop did the standard trail at Vicksburg. One camp out, while the bulk of the troop was doing canoeing, the LC did motorboating. etc.

 

But back on topic, what are some arguments against letting youth sign off have you heard?

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